Kohli should take over as India’s Test captain, says Mohammad Azharuddin

"If I was the selector, I would give the chance to Virat Kohli"

“If I was the selector, I would give the chance to Virat Kohli”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin has announced that batsman Virat Kohli should replace Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the country’s Test captain.

Azharuddin’s comments come after India were thrashed 3-1 in their recent five-Test series against England.

“If you perform then you stay for a long time,” he said. “If you don’t perform, there is no survival and you perish – it’s as simple as that. The BCCI has to take some action. A different captain might help, you never know.

“You don’t get anything ready-made. We can only find good captains if the chance is given. If you don’t give a chance, then how will you know. If I was the selector, I would give the chance to Virat Kohli. Fine, he has not done well in England, it was a one-off performance. If you don’t put responsibility on the players, then how will you know how they perform.

“You have to be very good in all forms of the game. A good player will excel in all formats of the game. Like there are some players who are meant only for ODIs, we should have different captains.”

“It is very hard for the captain to concentrate on three formats at one point. We can have different captains for different forms, like every other country has done.”

Azharuddin also admitted that he was disappointed to see Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara fail time and time again in England.

“Technically, both Kohli and (Cheteshwar) Pujara were found wanting in England,” he said. “In England, you should look to play forward; you can’t play from the crease. The main thing was that they allowed the bowlers to bowl to their weaknesses. If you allow the bowlers to bowl well then you are always in trouble.

“Sometimes, you have to do something different to make the bowlers think differently also. But if you are getting out in the same fashion then the bowler doesn’t need to do much; he just needs to bowl it in the same area.”

Azharuddin also stated that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) need to distinguish which formats each player will excel in.

“We need to differentiate between the players who are going to play Test cricket and  one-day cricket,” he said. “If both the sides have extensive practice sessions and play practice games, it will be very good. If we get the selection right we should win the World Cup, I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t.

“We have a very good chance. We have a good very side and if we pick the side early and send them to Australia maybe a month in advance then it will be good. You have to get acclimatised before the World Cup starts.”

Azharuddin also noted that he was open to the idea of becoming India’s head coach.

“Cricket has always been my love, and if get an opportunity I am open to coaching,” he said. “I am here only because of cricket and it has given me everything. I am happy to assist in whichever way I can. I think they have to come and speak to me. If they want me, I am always ready. I am always ready to help any player who comes to me at any time.”

The former captain added that more Indian players should start playing County cricket at home and abroad since it will test their “confidence, endurance and skill”.

“There is hardly any time for players to go play,” he said. “When I played, I was there for six months and played all 17 games. It makes a difference. It tests your confidence, endurance and skill. The IPL will stay, but the players have to find time. Even Indian players who are not suited for T20s get selected in the IPL. Instead they might as well play in county cricket rather than sitting on the bench.”

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